SCOOP: Mystery Chevrolet Small Crossover / MPV Spotted in Europe, What is it?


We’re not quite sure what to make of this new Chevrolet prototype that was caught by our scoop photographers on European roads. The test vehicle appears to be a small or compact MPV in a taller, SUV-esque design with short overhangs and an upright fascia reminiscent of the latest Chevy models. Our man with the long-lens told us that the camouflaged prototype was clearly smaller than the Orlando people mover that’s offered in Europe.

It could be that Chevrolet is working on a new small crossover model based on an extended version of General Motors’ Gamma II platform. The same architecture underpins the new Chevy Spark and Aveo / Sonic and will also form the base for the future Opel Corsa and its SUV sibling that is currently under development.

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More Screaming Passengers from the 2011 Red Bull Car Drift Event in Lebanon


We don’t know about you, but we certainly enjoyed watching the video of a male passenger freaking out during a ride around a drift course, so we decided to do a little bit of online research to find out what it was all about. We discovered that the joy ride was part of the Red Bull Car Park Drift 2011 event and it took place in Lebanon.

The man behind the steering wheel of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI is 34-year-old Abdo Feghali from Lebanon. He is a professional rally driver who also participates in drift contests and events such as the one organized by Red Bull.

If you liked the first video we showed you, then follow the jump to watch the reactions of the same male passenger, this time sitting at the back between two women (oddly enough no one was wearing seat belts…), as well as some new footage of other people that took a ride including the beautiful lady you see pictured above.

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Honda Patents New 2012 Civic Sedan and Coupe Designs in Europe


A peek through the European patent office files revealed images of Honda’s freshly launched in North America, 2012 Civic in both four-door sedan and two-door coupe guise. Given that the European market will get its own, bespoke version of the Civic, chances are that Honda simply wanted to cover its back like most of the competition just in case another automaker (we are looking towards you China) got any crazy ideas.

However, it is possible that Honda will offer the four-door saloon model in certain European countries to compete against the Volkswagen Jetta. With the exception of one version of the Civic sedan seen in this set of images and which features slightly modified taillights with additional strips that extend towards the license plate holder, there are no other differences compared to the North American Civic.

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Big Brother is Watching, Well, All of us: U.S. DoT Seeks to Make Event Data Recorders Mandatory


Australian inventor and all-round genius Dr David Warren is widely considered to be the father of the “black box” Flight Data Recorder (FDR). His invention helped make flying safer by giving investigators valuable insights into the mechanical goings-on of a crashed aircraft. What may surprise you is that for the last twenty years similar devices have been installed in our cars.

Event Data Recorders (EDRs) are the automotive equivalent of an aircraft’s FDR. These devices record acceleration and deceleration forces, engine RPM, temperature, oil pressure and a host of other things. After a crash, the information can be recovered and studied, aiding investigators.

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VW Releases Golf GTI Edition 35 Specs and Price, Says it gets a Detuned Version of the Golf R’s Engine [with Video]


Developed to celebrate 35 years since the launch of the original Volkswagen Golf GTI in 1976, the GTI Edition 35 will make its premiere at the Worthersee Tour (June 1-4) in Austria. A 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine that develops 235-horsepower and 300 Nm of torque (221 lb-ft), 25HP and 20 Nm more than the standard GTI, powers the limited edition hot-hatch.

However, Volkswagen says the engine is not an upgraded version of the standard GTI's unit but a detuned version of the AWD Golf R's four-pot, adapted for a FWD setup. With 25 more horsepower than the standard GTI and a power-to-weight ratio of 6 kg/hp, the Golf GTI Edition 35 reaches a top speed of 247 km/h (153 mph) and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.6 seconds (gains of 7 km/h and 0.3 seconds respectively).

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Too Much? Graf Weckerle-Tuned Ferrari 458 Italia


It seems that there is a tune for just about everyone and everything these days, from subtle to extreme, and all points in between. We do not know where exactly this Ferrari 458 Italia from German tuning firm Graf Weckerle fits in that spectrum, but those odd-looking alloy wheels are sure to catch the attention of every passerby. Read more »

Audi Design Student Creates the Trimaran Hybrid Yacht


Audi's concept design studio in Munich came up with an interesting proposition for a luxury yacht that would wear the four-ring logo. The Trimaran is the project work of Pforzheim Technical College student Stefanie Behringer, who explains the idea behind the study:

“The Audi Trimaran is a new concept which integrates two jet skis in a motorboat. The hull architecture is based on a trimaran, consisting of a main center hull supported by two smaller outrigger hulls. Two jet skis are stored inside pods in the outriggers. The main boat is powered by two lightweight and efficient Audi TDI diesel engines, whereas the jet skis are electrically-driven,” said Behringer.

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Simply Epic: Pro Drifter Brings Out the Female Side of Male Passenger


In life, there are moments you wish you could bottle up and savor forever but there are also moments you wish never happened. A few seconds into the follow video are more than enough to find out which of two statements mentioned above are true for the man sitting in the passenger seat.

The poster of the video claims that the “Middle East man” was all shook up by a “professional drifter after he claimed to be a pro drifter too”. Understandably, there’s no way of being sure about the claim if we don’t understand a word they’re saying, so if you any of you guys or girls speak the language, we would be much obliged if you let us know what’s going on in the comments section below.

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Honda Canada Hacked: 250,000+ Customers Affected By Security Breach


Less than a month after Sony’s Playstation Network was compromised by hackers seeking personal information, a similar mishap has struck the Canadian arm of Honda / Acura. In a notice to its customers, the Japanese automaker revealed:

“The incident involved the unauthorized access of information as held in our records in 2009, specifically name, address, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and in a small number of cases, Honda Financial Services account numbers.”

It is believed that as many as 283,321 have been affected by the security breach. Honda Canada Executive VP Jerry Chenkin released a statement saying: “The information was limited and is not typically used for the purposes of identity theft or fraud. We would like to sincerely apologize to our Canadian customers for this incident. Honda and Acura are working diligently to protect our customers' personal information and improve our data security procedures on an ongoing basis.”

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Renault's French Dealers Offering 45 Percent Discounts on Clio to Offset Plummeting Sales


The Renault brand’s sales are down 35 percent since May 1 in France and this has forced local dealers to offer hefty discounts to customers on certain models, a French radio station reported. According to the BFM radio station quoted by Reuters, dealers are offering discounts as high as 45 percent on some versions of the Clio supermini. For instance, certain dealers are selling the Clio for €7,990 ($11,400), even though the factory sticker is €14,100 ($20,120). Read more »

Take that Goodwood: Vilner’s Mini Cooper S Inspired by Bentley


The BMW Group’s decision to launch a new posh version of the Mini hatch called “Mini Inspired by Goodwood” motivated Bulgarian design studio Vilner to develop its own luxed-up variant of the British supermini. However, while the Goodwood model received the Rolls Royce touch, Vilner’s proposal tries to emulate a Bentley – at least in the interior.

Even though Vilner has baptized the car “The Italian Job” as homage to the famous movie, for obvious reasons, a more appropriate name would have been “Mini Inspired by Crewe”. The Bulgarian company has dressed the Mini hatchback’s interior with fine materials such as brown Nappa leather and Alcantara, with parts of the seats, door panels, dashboard and roof lining featuring a diamond shape theme. In addition, the doors have gained elements of black leather while the original plastic was re-sprayed in a sparkling gray finish.

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Loder1899 Tunes Into the New 2012 Ford Focus Hatch


The all-new Ford Focus has barely launched in Europe but the German aftermarket specialists at Loder1899 have already created a dedicated tuning package. The company dresses the new compact hatchback with numerous carbon-fiber elements such as the front spoiler lip, matching side skirts installed on the door sills and an RS-style rear apron with an integrated air diffuser. Read more »

EVO Takes Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 for a Spin Around the Track


Continuing our video finds on the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, here is a film from EVO magazine’s encounter with the brawny Italian supercar at the Vallelunga race track near Rome in Italy. After jumping into the driver’s seat and onto the circuit for a few quick rounds, EVO’s Harry Metcalfe concludes that the Murcielago’s successor is a “real game changer” and possibly the “best super sports car in the world right now”.

Follow the break to see Lamborghini’s V12-powered Aventador LP700-4 on the track, and then weigh in with your own thoughts in comments section below.

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KBR Motorsport Tricks Out Volkswagen’s Passat CC


It has been a long time since we last saw a tuning firm getting its hands on the Volkswagen Passat CC, but today we received news on a freshly developed styling and performance package for the mid-size sports saloon by German firm KBR Motorsport. Read more »

Kia Launches Soul Hamstar Special Edition in the U.S.


The success of the popular Hamster advertising campaign that promoted the Soul in the U.S. in 2010 inspired Kia to launch a new special edition model of its boxy crossover model. Previewed by the Hamstar concept at the 2011 SEMA show, the red and black 2011 Hamstar is the sixth special edition Soul. The car sports unique exterior graphics and interior refinements, including a 315-watt audio system with pulsing speaker lights. Read more »

Audi Prepares Insane 503HP A1 Clubsport Quattro for Worthersee Fest,


Every year, fans of the Volkswagen Group get together at the Wörthersee festival, held in Reifnitz, Austria, to share their passion about cars. The show is so big that the VW Group’s brands spare no money to develop dedicated one-off models for the event. Audi’s star attraction at this year’s Worthersee Tour (June 1 to 4, 2011), which celebrates its 30th anniversary, is the ludicrous A1 clubsport Quattro.

The one-off show car is a rally-inspired A1 hatch that uses a heavily modified version of the 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine found in the TT RS and the RS3 Sportback. The five-pot normally produces 340-horsepower and 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft), but thanks to the systematic tuning of the turbocharger, intercooler, induction tract and the exhaust, output has been boosted to 503-horsepower and 660 Nm (487 lb-ft) of torque.

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London Mayor to Whack President Obama’s Motorcade with the Congestion Charge


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, you’d have seen that hi-larious [sic] video of one of the Barack-mobiles getting stuck on a ramp outside the U.S. Embassy in Ireland. The U.S. President’s eight ton, “Beasts” are monsters of cars, built to withstand bullets, bombs and probably reporters’ shoes (yes, I went there).

In a cute footnote to this story, notorious car-hater environmentally-conscious London Mayor Boris Johnson is considering levying a congestion charge on each car in President Obama’s motorcade, the cost of which would be £10 (US$16) per vehicle. A spokeswoman has stated that they will not be paying the charges if billed.

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SCOOP: 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class MPV is Same ol’ Same ol’…


Not too long ago, we brought you official design images of the brand new 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sporting a five-door hatchback body styled after the impressive A-Class concept seen at the New York and Shanghai Auto Shows in April. Now we have some revealing spy shots of the upcoming 2012 B-Class minivan. Being that the next A-Class and its larger B-Class sibling belong to the same family, you would expect a similar design philosophy between the two models.

However, as these latest scoops demonstrate, that is not the case with the new 2012 B-Class. We had a very hard time telling the differences between the current B-Class and its successor, as the overall shape and styling of the small MPV have been kept intact. Nevertheless, the new B-Class is slightly longer than the current model, with the front and rear ends influenced by the latest crop of Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs.

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Study Says Men Seven Times more Stressed than Women in Traffic Jams


A new research by satellite navigation company TomTom reveals that men’s stress levels rise seven times higher than a women's when stuck in heavy traffic. British psychologists reached this conclusion after testing volunteers for the rise in stress chemicals in their saliva when caught up in a traffic jam.

The study found that women's stress levels increased by 8.7 percent, while men's soared to 60 percent in the same traffic jam scenario. According to UK specialists, this could prove unhealthy as it puts pressure on the heart and causes dizziness and breathing problems. However, many of the volunteers had no idea they were experiencing stress. 67 percent of the women and 50 percent of men said they did not feel any stress after 20 minutes in heavy traffic, even though the readings showed otherwise.

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Volkswagen Studying Tiguan SUV Production in North America to Lower Costs


Citing inside management sources from Volkswagen, a news report from German weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche said the German automaker wants to produce its Tiguan compact SUV in North America in order to reduce costs and protect itself against fluctuation of exchange rates. Officially, Volkswagen declined to comment on the magazine report. Read more »

FAIL: Ferrari 599 GTO in Reverse hits a Pole


Bumping into or even just scraping against an object while pulling you car out of a parking space has probably happened to everyone at least once or twice. However, you would expect an owner of a spanking new Ferrari 599 GTO worth north of €260,000 or close to $400,000 to be far more careful that usual when attempting to reverse out of a parking space. Apparently, being careful was not in the nature of the owner of this blacked out 599 GTO in Cologne, Germany. Video follows after the break. Read more »

New Nissan Leaf Commercial Mocks the Chevy Volt for Using Gasoline


Electric carmakers are trying hard to promote their products, with the environmentally friendly nature of these vehicles being their most exploited feature in advertising. Nissan is going down the same path with a new campaign for the fully-electric Leaf entitled “Gas Powered Everything”, in which the company mocks the internal combustion engine by imagining a strange world where all appliances run on gas.

The result is a funny commercial in which people have to put up with gas-powered alarm-clocks, microwave ovens, computers and many more appliances. Even the Chevrolet Volt becomes a subject of joke for being a gas-electric hybrid. But we can't help but wonder: isn't Nissan's approach a little hypocritical? It's not like their range includes electric cars alone...

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VÄTH’s €32,670 Tune Lifts Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe to 615HP


The star of the Mercedes-Benz range, the SLS AMG Coupe, has only a year under its belt but the V8-powered supercar has gained a lot of love from the tuning industry in the past 12 months. The newest performance and styling package for the ‘Gullwing door’ supercar to hit the tuning stage comes from Germany’s VÄTH with the introduction of the V63S kit.

The company’s first priority was to squeeze some more juice from the SLS AMG Coupe’s 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine through the use of a software upgrade and an in-house high-performance exhaust system that also allows drivers to adjust the tone of the eight-cylinder unit.

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It’s a Wrap: CFC’s Artsy Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible


The soon-to-be-replaced VW New Beetle Convertible has caught the attention of Bavarian foil specialist Car Film Components (CFC), which has revealed a rather artsy-looking tuning proposal. The highlight of the tune is of course the exterior with certain parts of the body including the doors, side panels, hood and bonnet covered in a velvet black wrap while the front and rear bumpers, the wheel arches and the rocker panels are draped in a sticker like motif. The pice for materials and labor is €2,200 or about US$3,140. Read more »

Vauxhall Insignia gains New 1.4-Liter Turbo Petrol and Improved EcoFlex Diesels


It’s model-year changeover over time for the Vauxhall Insignia with the British company announcing the addition of a low emissions ecoFLEX diesel model and a new-to-the-range 1.4 Turbo petrol engine. Read more »

Designer Imagines what a 2012 Fiat Dino Could Look like


After the axing of the Fiat Coupe in 2000, the Italian brand's range was left without a coupe. And that's where British designer Peter Norris steps in with a new study that envisions a future sports car model for Fiat. However, this concept would not necessarily make a successor to the affordable Fiat Coupe, as the car carries a Pininfarina badge, thus hinting to a more luxurious model.

The study is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive luxury sports car that aims to embody the essence of the Italian thoroughbred. Judging from the drivetrain layout, this concept would be more of a successor to the 1960's RWD Fiat Dino rather than to the late 1990s FWD Fiat Coupe designed by Chris Bangle.

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VIDEO: Chilean Stunt Rider Leaps into Abyss on his Bike


Riding a motorcycle off a 3,300 ft / 1,000 meter high cliff is not something you see every day. Julio Munoz, a Chilean motocross rider, performed this daredevilish stunt in May 2011, as part of the 'BASE Project Los Andes' to promote the natural beauties of his country.

Rigged with special cameras, the 37-year-old paratrooper raced his 450cc motorcycle towards a specially prepared ramp and literally flew into the air before starting his descent. The bike crashed onto the rocks while Munoz successfully opened his parachute some 200 feet from the ground.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Officially Revealed : 68 High-Res Photos [Updated]


Little by little, Mercedes-Benz is releasing more photos and information on its 2012 SLS AMG Roadster ahead of the supercar’s world premiere at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Following the release of a barely disguised car earlier this month, the German company’s PR tease continues today with the first official photos of the roadster version of the SLS AMG without any kind of camouflage.

We also get to learn that the three-layered fabric soft top will not eat in the roadster model’s trunk area as its capacity remains at 6.1 cubic feet with the roof either open or closed, and is roughly the same to that of the SLS AMG Coupe, which stands at 6.2 cubic feet. The fully automatic top is available in three colors – black, beige and a classic red. It opens and closes in eleven seconds, and can be operated on the move at speeds up to 31 mph or 50km/h.

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AHG Sports Shows 280HP-Tuned Infiniti FX30dS


European Infiniti shoppers have the option of ordering certain models with the firm’s new six-cylinder diesel engine and the FX luxury crossover is one of them. For those buyers that would like a light tune up of their diesel-powered FX30d there is AHG Sport, the in-house performance division of the Infiniti Centre in Hamburg, Germany. Read more »

Rumors: Opel Astra GTC May Come to the U.S. as a Buick


It seems the success of the Buick Regal, which is essentially a rebadged Opel Insignia, has determined GM management to consider bringing another Opel to the U.S., the Astra GTC hatch. Buick will soon have a compact sedan in its range, the Astra-based Verano due to be launched this fall, but it also wants a sporty hatchback with enough power and fine handling to lure young buyers. Read more »

Hoon Crackdown: Two Anti-Hooning Ads from Different Ends of the Spectrum


In Australia and New Zealand, “hooning” is a term applied to any anti-social and often dangerous behavior behind the wheel of a car. Burnouts, car surfing and illegal street racing all fall under this rather broad definition. And it’s an ever-growing problem. Each year there are more reports like, “Hoons kill innocent driver in Dandenong, say police” and, “Man killed in Burwood Highway 'hoon' crash.”

So it’s obvious that cracking down on hooning is very important to the governments of both nations. Here we have two adverts, one from Oz and one from Kiwiland, that use tactics both old and new to get their message across. The Aussie one plays on that, “If you hoon, you’ll lose your car” message while the NZ one plays on the, “If you hoon, you’ll lose your life” vibe. Who knew that New Zealand’s roads were covered with hidden landmines?

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Saab Returns from the Dead…Again, Restarts Production at its Trollhättan Factory


Saab is back in the business of making cars again -at least for now- almost two months after production came to a halt on April 6 when the company’s suppliers stopped deliveries of parts in protest over unpaid bills. The Swedish company was able to restart production after receiving €30 million (US$42.8 million) in advance on a deal it has signed with Chinese car distributor Pang Da Automobile.

The China company’s CEO, Mr. Pang Qinghua, visited the Trollhättan factory today together with CEO and Chairman of Saab Automobile, Victor Muller, and witnessed the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line. Saab said around 100 cars were built today but plans to “increase the daily production rate in the coming weeks in parallel with the full re-establishment of the supply chain”.

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Meet the DAF 55 Siluro, One of the first Wedge-Shaped Cars


The Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza was definitely the place to be for those who love rare classic cars and have the necessary cash to indulge in such an expensive passion. The event, which took place in Italy this past weekend, was packed with a stunning array of classic production and concept models in mint condition. One of the studies that caught our attentions was the strange-looking DAF 55 Siluro.

Back in the days when Dutch company DAF was still building passenger cars (Volvo bought its car making business in 1975), Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti was assigned to create a study for the brand that would be the pride of Daf's booth at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show.

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British Study Reveals the Most Popular Hairdresser’s Car in Real Life


And no, despite what you may have heard or read, the Audi TT ain’t the most popular car among hairdressers – or at least not in Britain. According to a new study made available today by UK women's car insurance specialist Diamond, that title goes to…*drums please*…the one and only, MINI One hatchback. In fact, the BMW Group’s MINI brand had two vehicles in the top five positions.

The UK insurance firm came to this conclusion after looking at data from over 18,000 hairdressers in Britain. The company said the MINI One is three and a half times more likely to be driven by someone working as a hairdresser than everyone else.

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Jaguar-Land Rover Opens Assembly Plant in India, Rolls Out its First Model [with Video]


Gone are the times when you knew where cars were made just by looking at the brand, and when luxury carmakers made the manufacturing of their vehicles in their home country one of their top selling points. Nowadays, you have BMWs built in China, India, South Africa and the USA, Mercedes-Benz cars made in Russia, Thailand and Egypt and so on.

The latest premium automaker to go global is the Jaguar-Land Rover group, which inaugurated its first Indian factory on Friday. A Land Rover Freelander 2 SUV was the first vehicle to roll out of the assembly plant, which is located just outside Pune in the Maharashtra region of India. We’ll remind you that Ford Motor Co. sold Jaguar and Land Rover to India’s Tata Motors in 2008 after losing some US$15 billion in two years.

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For The Man Who Has Everything: Ferrari Racing Helmet


You would think a company that sells US$200,000+ supercars would have no need to hawk merchandise, but apparently not. Along with the expected assortment of watches, polo shirts and key rings is this US$331.40 racing helmet. You’re sure to look dapper when cruising around in your dilapidated ’89 Mondial cabriolet 250 Testa Rossa in this fine helmet made of satin-finish aluminium, metalised thermoplastic and genuine leather. Read more »

Eagle Speedster is a Beautiful Tribute to the Classic Jaguar E-Type


Eagle is a British restoration specialist that dedicates its activity exclusively to the Jaguar E-Type. As the iconic sports car celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, Eagle has thought of a very special way to celebrate the occasion: the one of a kind Eagle Speedster, a roadster models that combines the beauty of the classic E-Type with the company's technical expertise and craftsmanship.

The car was commissioned by U.S. collector Rick Velaj, who wanted something "a bit special". Eagle designer Paul Brace penned a sketch, Velaj loved it and the rest came naturally. Everything on the E-Type Speedster is custom made. Like the 1960's Jaguar E-Type, Eagle's car sports classic finishing, with every detail being designed and customized, from the unique shape of the all-aluminum body, adapted from an original body by RS Panels, right through to the custom made windshield glass.

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Chrysler Tones it Down a Notch with its New Imported from Detroit Campaign for the 2011 Town and Country


The refreshed 2011 Town and Country minivan is the point of focus in the latest commercial in Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign. The new TV spot is called “The Quiet Ones” and it takes us to Michigan and the state’s 2011 hockey champions, the Novi Wildcats, featuring one of the team members, Mason Pew. Read more »